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Tracking Dutch fans easy by following orange-coloured crowd

World Cupmania takes hold

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM The colour orange is increasingly defining Dutch national identity. At international sporting events Dutch fans can be spotted quickly by the colour of their shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia.

Department stores, supermarkets, clothing shops, bakeries and everyone else is joining the movement by packaging merchandise in orange plastic or by adding orange food colouring to food items.

It does not end there. In many places people add a festive touch to their streets by flying Dutch flags, crisscrossing orange bunting over roads, displaying inflatable orange cows romping on rooftops along with windmills and soccer balls and houses that have been wrapped in orange coloured plastic, making for a colourful and festive visual sight.

One newspaper gave a list of the odd things that "those peculiar folk" are buying in order to show their enthusiasm for the Johannesburg, South Africa-bound Dutch soccer team. The items range from orange wigs, hats, pants and toilet paper to the vast collection of small furry, squeaking give-away souvenirs available from all major supermarkets.

The item making the most noise is an African trumpet known as a vuvuzela which sounds like an injured elephant. Great quantities have been distributed, all but ensuring that World Cup Soccer will be a noisy affair at the home front in the Netherlands, creating the need for earplugs. Orange ones may be the preferred colour.